Review: Stones in Exile DVD

STUDIO: Eagle Vision | DIRECTOR: Stephen Kijak
RELEASE DATE: 6/22/10 | PRICE: DVD $14.98
BONUSES: extended interviews, Return to Stargroves and Olympic Studios, Exile fans
SPECS: NR | 145 min. | Documentary | 16:9 widescreen | Dolby Digital 5.1 | English, French and Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

The debate as to whether or not 1972’s Exile on Main St. is the Rolling Stones’ greatest album will continue to rage on, but there are few who would disagree that it’s the Stones at their most raw and raucous. Timed for release at the same time the band’s long-awaited remastered version of Exile hits the streets, the hour-long Stones in Exile examines the creation and legend of the album that finds Keith, Mick and company at what is arguably the height of their creative powers.

Authorized and produced by the Stones, the film explores the legendary creation of Exile, beginning with the sessions conducted in the basement of Nellcôte, Keith’s villa in the South of France where he and the band took up residence after leaving England as tax exiles. The Nellcôte section of the film is the most fascinating, filled with vintage clips of the band at work and play, testimonials from all who were there (including Keith’s ex-gal Anita Pallenberg, who speaks frankly about her man’s growing use of heroin) and hundreds of candid stills taken by French photog Dominique Tarlé. (According to Tarlé, Keith told him, “You get high on the music and photography — I’ll take care of the rest.”)

Much, much more is examined here—the L.A. sessions, Robert Frank’s freak-filled album jacket, the ins and outs of a mobile production, the subsequent 1972 tour and, of course, the music. Pieces of nearly all 18 tracks from the album appear in one form or another here, with extended sequences focusing on the recording of such numbers as “Ventilator Blues,” “Sweet Virginia,” “Shine a Light,’ “Loving Cup” and others.

Incorporated into all of this is footage from Frank’s notoriously unreleased documentary Cocksucker Blues, which follows the Stones on their subsequent world tour. CS Blues is a Holy Grail of sorts and its inclusion here would be reason enough for Stones fans to salivate, but in this case it’s only one part of an outstanding package.

There are nearly 90 minutes of extras on the DVD, which include footage of Mick and drummer Charlie Watts visiting Olympic Studios and Mick’s former country estate, Stargroves, where the band frequently worked. There’s also a collection of extended interviews, the highlight of which is Keith offering opinions in his own inimitable fashion. Of his relationship with Mick, at one point he mumbles, “Mick needs to know what he’s going to do tomorrow and me, I’m just happy to wake up.”

 

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About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.